Tuesday night's concert at the Grand Theatre flew in the face of the usual Tuesday night (worst night of the week to put on a show) concert doldrums. Joel was laid-back and chatty and completely at ease with the audience, telling stories of the previous night's show in Banff, making up new lyrics for Love This Town, wherein he added references to Calgary and the Saigon Y2K restaurant where they had eaten supper that night. The crowd ate it up.
And Joel Plaskett sure knows how to rock. With more than 15 years of performing under his belt, I'm guessing a lot of it in bars, he manages to play a more straight-ahead style of rock that appeals to the bar-going crowd, while still maintaining his completely independant style. While I've always had a lot of admiration for him, I've never been completely overwhelmed by the music itself. I've always enjoyed it, but never been completely in love with it. But a live Joel Plaskett show is another animal altogether - the songs are crisper and rockier and more anthemic - even the considerable acoustic songs in his catalogue. Watching the Joel Plaskett Emergency perform is a real joy.
The audience were probably one of the best I have witnessed in a long time. This was a slightly different crowd from the usual gaggle of indie kids - there was nary a skinny jean nor a frock/cowboy boot ensemble in sight. This crowd favoured the relaxed fit jean and non-ironic t-shirt. Definitely more bar scene than art house look. But these people could rock, and they were completely in the moment- singing along, cheering loudly. For a Tuesday night crowd, hell even for a Friday night crowd, they were completely awesome.
Peter Elkas opened the night, and while I recognised that he was really talented and his band was very tight and that the performance was topnotch, I was strangely unmoved by it. The crowd loved him, but the more soulful romantic singer-songwriter offering did little for me. Plus I thought there was too much organy keyboard and it started to annoy me after a while. But the problem was not with Peter Elkas or the band (unofficially known as Elkaholics), it was with me. I most likely had a touch of PMS or something.
I did feel really badly about not liking his set so much though, as he played keyboards and some bass with the Joel Plaskett Emergency for their entire set, and then Elkas was so sweet and accomodating getting his picture taken with our friend Ruhee in the lobby later, despite camera woes. He even came back for a second photo attempt as he promised he would, so I really need to give his music another chance, I think. Besides he's a serious hottie.
It was a show well worth going out for on a Tuesday night. If you ever get a chance to see Joel Plaskett perform, my advice to you would be - DO IT.
Nowhere with you - Joel Plaskett Emergency
Love This Town - Joel Plaskett